Why should the SACRE carry out monitoring visits in partnership with schools?
The statutory SACRE role is to:
- To advise Southampton City Council upon matters connected with religious worship in community schools and in foundation schools which do not have a religious character
- To advise Southampton City Council on teaching methods, choice of materials and teacher training in religious education (RE) and collective worship
- To produce an annual report to Local Authorities (LA) and Department of Education (DfE)
- To require Southampton City Council to review the locally agreed syllabus for religious education at least every five years (revision due for 2016)
- To consider applications made by a headteacher to release some or all of the pupils in a particular school from the requirement for collective worship to be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character
- To report schools to the LA which cause concern for example, with regard to non-compliance with for example: not fulfilling the requirement for collective worship of wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character, not following Locally Agreed Syllabus delivery if appropriate to school, reducing numbers of entries/standards at GCSE in Religious Education. The LA must investigate and where necessary pass the SACRE concern to the DfE through the relevant process
In order to carry out its functions to report on RE and Collective Worship in Schools the SACRE is proposing that it will in the first instance, offer a cycle of monitoring visits to schools regarding its Collective Worship and RE on a date and time to be agreed with the school. This would be for approximately 10 schools per year in a five year cycle beginning with a pilot summer 2015.
The purpose of visit is to:
- Ensure compliance with relevant aspects such as delivery of locally agreed syllabus
- Provide contacts and advice where appropriate for RE and Collective Worship
- Gather information for its statutory annual report; this would take the form of a half day visit from up to three SACRE members
During the visit:
- Observation of collective worship
- Pupil discussion forum to gather pupil views regarding collective worship and RE
- Professional discussion with lead/s for Collective Worship/RE and Headteacher
- A possibility to build in some observation of RE teaching from LA advisor following a Headteacher request is also available
Following the visit
The SACRE will produce a confidential report for the school about their observations and information gathered which the school may use with Governors, Inspection teams and/or other stakeholders for which they see fit.
The report will go to the SACRE sub-group responsible for monitoring visits – this will be a confidential document.
Headteachers will be asked to feedback to the SACRE sub-group any information they feel is important regarding the visit.
A summary report of any monitoring visits will be submitted from this group to the SACRE as a standing agenda item at the SACRE meeting, confidentiality of schools will be maintained.
Any non-compliance issues will be reported to the LA officer for action.
Schools selected for monitoring will be written to stating the reason for selection. The school does not have to accept a monitoring visit, however the SACRE would not expect a school to request non-participation more than once especially as it is hoped that this will be a supportive and sharing good practice tool that schools will be able to draw upon to support their own development.
Criteria for selection are:
- Headteacher requests for a visit
- Application received for determination
- Action points for a school from Ofsted
- Local knowledge of innovation/good practice around Collective Worship (or RE)
- Complaints received by SACRE/ LA with regard to RE or Collective Worship
- Falling GCSE standards/numbers of entries for RE
- Headteacher requests for LA officer lesson observation in RE
- Place in five year cycle